I'm headed up to Bakersfield this week! I'll be in Olive Knolls ward, with Elder LeCompte. I hear it's a great ward and he's a chill dude. Also someone please tell me why hearing olive knolls makes me think of those garlic bread knots you can buy at Walmart? I know I'm not the only one to think that.
Other than that, Elder Watkins was sick. Don't expect too fun of an email.
On Tuesday we talked about the Sacrament with Stacey. I did a lot of pondering about the sacrament and baptism, and what they mean to me. Especially the charge to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort." If Christ was willing to go through literally the hardest thing ever to be able to do so for me, I feel like I can endure some much smaller burdens in order to give some small comfort to those around me.
Wednesday and Thursday were more sick days. Being sick is so fun. It's not actually fun at all. But hey, patience. I guess we did have a pretty great lesson with Michael about the plan of Salvation. But it was a lesson to pass him to the YSA sisters. *sigh* In the words of President: "It still counts."
Friday we had district meeting and took care of some last business for Stacey's baptism. Paperwork!
Saturday Stacey got baptized! Incredible! I'm really happy about it, especially that I was able to be here for it. So many times I thought we'd have to change it, but things worked out! It was great, and I know she's on the right path. The restored gospel truly is the way to eternal happiness.
Sunday was my birthday. Weird. No one had signed up for dinner, and while they were passing around the calendar, someone marked the day off as if it had already happened! So we almost had no dinner. Only the relief society president knew what day it was, and she sent her son over with some pulled pork. Thank goodness for that. The YSA sisters heard about it too, and baked me a cake! Literal angels. Plus, Stacey's son, who hadn't been that interested, came to church! Hooray! So all in all, it was a good day.
It's important to try to look on the bright side when things might be starting to go bad. The Spirit will point out blessings and guide to more, but it can't if we're wallowing in misery. I'm pretty bad about that most of the time, but this week I did better and it made a difference! God can bless us more if we're grateful.
With one more year's worth of gratitude, thanks for all your support!
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Tuesday we picked up a new investigator! We'd talked to him before, but he was stoned out of his mind when we did. This time he was more together, and we could all tell he really needed the gospel. Poor guy. But hey, now it's here for him! We also taught Stacey an awesome lesson with a guy from the ward who's about to head out on a mission. I mean, every lesson with her is awesome. But this was cool because he finally got to see a good lesson with someone prepared.
Wednesday was a little stressful. Y'know how before every good thing some trials come? That started for Stacey. Lots of stuff went wrong fast. But the ward jumped in and were super helpful, and everything will hopefully be taken care of. They've got it together. I'm grateful for the organization of this church, and that it allows and encourages so many people of diverse talents and backgrounds to come together to help and lift each other.
Thursday! Gotta love planning day. It was planning day. Ordinary. Knocked on doors. That kind of thing.
We had exchanges with our district leader this Friday/Saturday. It was cool, but unfortunately it also means we did all spanish work, so I have nothing cool to say about our area. For the weekend.
Sunday Elder Watkins got sick. The curse continues.
I feel good this week. Well, not physically, I'm sick too, but spiritually the week was good. It's so good to be a part of the change in someone's life, to get to bring the gospel to them. Heck, we're not even the ones doing all the heavy lifting, it's the Spirit. But the joy that comes from it is incredible. It can't really be described. I didn't think I could love taking a backseat so much- this truly is the Lord's work and I'm glad to be a part of it.
Also Stacey is getting baptized this week. Keep her in your prayers! We're all really excited!
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Tuesday we had a lesson with Stacey again! Good lesson, with the Bishop about the word of wisdom. She was basically living it already because of a heart condition, so not a problem. Glad the Bishop was there because he resolved some other concerns for us and helped us make plans to help Stacey in the future. I see a lot of value in working closely with the bishop in the future! We also contacted a funky referral. His apartment was SUPER nice. Very well decorated. But he was stoned out of his gourd. He was telling us all about the "church of the elders" (our church) and how he was going to get his driver's license but still wanted us to drive him places (we kept telling him we didn't have a car.) Good times.
On Wednesday we did lots of service. We helped a little old lady with her yard, then helped another member move her fridges around. It's not big stuff, but it breaks up the routine. We also had an awesome lesson with Mike! We were just teaching about the restoration and he already knows some of it, plus he has read some of the Book of Mormon before, but the Spirit was still strong and we still helped answer his questions, so it was a great success.
On Thursday we planned. Didn't get too much else done, until on the way home from trying to find a referral, a girl and her friend pulled over to talk to us. She had a list of questions she asks missionaries (a bad sign) and proceeded to ask us them. Many are what would be hard questions, ones that lead to bible bashing and the Spirit leaving faster than a little kid after church. It's a fascinating thing, how the Spirit allows us to not be confounded. It all comes down to the simple things about the Gospel, faith and prayer, coming to know what cannot be seen and feel what cannot be touched. And it is wonderful to testify that although signs and wonders follow the faithful, and evidence may abound (or lack) the witness of the Spirit is the only knowledge that can last through anything.
On Friday we went and talked to those same people who wanted to bash with us, with all the questions. We said we'd come back, and we did. Gotta be honest in our dealings, even if it seems unpleasant. But we got to see the fulfillment of prophecy: we were not confounded by the philosophies of men. We did not have to leave because we "lost the argument." We left because we had given the portion to be meted and did as the Spirit directed. How grateful I am to be able to feel the whispering and confirmation of the Spirit of God!
On Saturday we worked. And uh... worked. And worked some more. It wasn't particularly eventful. But hey, not every day is.
Sunday is mother's day! So happy day to all the moms who do great work and all the great girls and women who don't have kids but are still great and do their part. Shout out to my mom, who I got to talk to, who is the best. Some of my fondest memories of home life in high school are just chatting with her all the time. She's raised me from before I was wearing diapers, so before I was born! Also a lesser but also cool shout out to any female who has ever given me advice because I promise I really do value it a lot and giving counsel is a mom thing to do. But my Mom is my favorite.
We were given a talk about teaching this week on Friday during district meeting. It was partially about the Savior's Atonement itself and how we remember it, but also about the fact that since it is the "root of all Christian doctrine," everything we teach and do should be able to be related back to it. It's given me a lot more perspective on how and what I teach, and why testimony of the Savior and His atonement often gets things back on track. I'm truly grateful for this church, and how everything in it points towards Jesus Christ, like the Law of Moses but less exacting and more complete. I think it's significant that the only symbols in the chapels of our buildings are the sacrament and the altar it is on- one from the beginning of the world and the other chosen and begun by the Lord Himself. It is such a precious experience we can have each week at church.
Thanks everyone! Have a good summer! I mean week, not summer.
P day was a good day as always! Sorry if anyone wanted to hear from me, we had to email early so another missionary could fix one of the computers. But this week we're back at the normal time. With a pre-written letter! So much of this will be written during the week, like a play-by-play that you only see afterwards. Anyway, we played an awesome game of sit-down, which is like free-for-all dodgeball. It's better than going out and playing poker ;P
Tuesday we had another lesson with Stacey! We talked about obedience and personal revelation. She talked a lot about how her prayers had changed and gotten better over the last few weeks and how she felt a lot more peace. It's always good to hear that. We also started making some posters to put up- there are a lot of apartment complexes in our area (upwards of 15) and we can't knock doors in most of them, but if we put posters with cards on the bulletin boards people might see those at least!
On Wednesday we had to go to a doctor's appointment and Elder Watkins's bike had a flat tire. Fixing it is a new experience for me, I've been lucky- for all my riding on dirt roads I haven't gotten a flat once. We also had to stop and help a lady push a u-haul out of the road, since she ran out of gas. On a busy road, turning left at an intersection. Good times. Thank goodness for the good Samaritan who pulled over to block the road to make it so we could move the truck and got honked at for us. They helped a lot.
Thursday is planning day, like normal. Not much exciting there. We went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch though, and I had the best ramen ever. Not that I've had that much, but still. A million times better than the instant stuff. Plus, a random guy, not even a member, paid for all our food! Tender mercies happen in all sorts of funny ways.
On Friday we had the most incredible lesson. We were planning on teaching tithing with the bishop to Stacey. We were nervous because her financial straits are dire, to say the least. We wanted to make it a great lesson with someone who knew where all the tithing went really well, but then the Bishop couldn't make it, so we tried and tried to find a member to come with us, and everyone we tried couldn't- until someone responded right before and said he'd come and bring his daughter, who is just about to turn in her mission papers! He has an incredible testimony of tithing (something I did not know) and Stacey was more than willing to accept. She already knew what tithing was and felt that she definitely needed the blessings. It was incredible! Miracles truly have not ceased!
Saturday was a slow day. They happen. It's like Moses on the mount: we all eventually have to come down from great spiritual experiences and deal with troubles again. It's okay though. We'll go up Mount Sinai again someday!
Sunday was great! Stacey was there and a member brought their neighbor with them! He's interested in learning about the Gospel, and we'll be having a lesson with him at the member's house this week! Talk about a good way to end the week. There was also another nonmember there, but he was a little... wasted for us to start teaching him today. We've seen him around before, but today was really the first time he's been all that friendly. I guess it was because he's a happy drunk. He fell asleep on Elder Watkins's shoulder during Elders Quorum. Awkward.
Whenever we're having a hard time, God always wants to reach out to us to remind us of just how much Jesus loves us. I've always noticed that and tried to do the same, to remind those that struggle of Savior's atonement. It really hit my why this week as we studied about repentance. He reminds us because he KNOWS. He understands completely how we feel. Every sorrow, every grief, every burden- he knows absolutely. It's just my feeling, not doctrine or anything, just something I've been thinking about, that maybe that is what he thought of as He was scourged as he suffered for us. "Now I know what it feels like." What incredible love He has for us (that part IS doctrine)! I am so grateful for that knowledge.
Have a great week everyone!
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
I spent most of this week horizontal. I was just really lightheaded all the time and had no energy. It was terrible.
But hey, it was still a good week! Stacey is still doing super well, she's really felt the Spirit at church and is getting along super well with the members. Now we just have to teach the commandments. Hard stuff, but that's where all the blessings are! And she definitely needs them. I'm so grateful to be a part of bringing the gospel into her life, she's so happy and will just get happier.
We had zone conference this week too! It's always good to be taught by president. And I saw a bunch of my friends! It was cool to be with Elder Taylor and Elder Coburn again. Plus a bunch of other missionaries. We talked about the gathering of Israel and the Book of Mormon. It's a good book. Ya'll should read it.
I learned something valuable this week. A member once told us that my companion and I took ourselves too seriously. I've realized that taking your calling seriously and yourself seriously are two different things. It's an important, serious job, being a missionary. But I don't have to be so hard on myself! It's possible to be lighthearted, dealing with mistakes with humor and grace, without being light-minded, taking away from the dignity of my calling.
Yep! So life is good. Thanks for supporting us, and sorry for the short email! Quiet week.
Stacey came to chuuuuuurch!
I'm really so excited this is the best week ever. Even if not that much else happened. It's just a really big deal that she made it to church because it meant interrupting her work on the weekend which is literally her only source of income. It's not even that, it's paying back a friend for a loan! Because of dumb bureaucracy stuff she's not getting money that she's supposed to be, so she almost can't pay her rent. But she acted in faith to come to church and we've only taught her a little bit! She decided after she read the introduction and prayed that she needed to come! We sat down to read earlier this week, just one chapter, but she insisted on reading more. She loves the scriptures and takes notes during church. Basically she's my favorite person. If only her son were on board right now immediately! But he's a good kid, he'll come around.
Otherwise, this has been a slow week. Elder Watkins got super sick and was throwing up in the middle of the night, and we had to help clear out another missionary apartment because they were moving. It wasn't even ours, and they were busy so it was just us. But hey, service! We helped them have time to teach someone, so we're still good. Contributing to the work somehow!
The mission is cool. Without even being able to teach that much over the last couple transfers, I've improved. Not because I've practiced a lot, but because my testimony has grown so much and I've learned a lot! Not to say I'm great or anything, but I'm improving, and that's all I can do. Progress is success! And it matters to you, because when you do the right thing God helps you love doing it!
Thanks for all your prayers and support. Keep living the abundant life!